I’m Still Standing….

What a fascinating journey these last six months have been! This post will feel really random, really eclectic. Well, that’s okay because that describes me, too. So much has been going on over this last six months, really 19 months. I’m going to touch on the highlights here. In subsequent posts I’ll expound upon some of these points. The bottom line through all this is that God continues to be faithful, in terms of provision, encouragement, and call. In all things, God is good!


So, over a year and a half ago, my wife Kara and I answered God’s call to move to Champaign, Illinois to take over the leadership of a church plant called Confluence Church. With a clear conscience, I can say that we’ve been faithful to all that God has called us to do in this role – we laid our church’s foundation on the work of Jesus, on God’s Word, on prayer, on relationships, and on mission. Most of the participants in all that we did were not the typical churchgoer. We had a fascinating mix of religious and ethnic backgrounds in our family. Not just on a surface level, we dove deep in our friendships. Real life happened – struggles, victories, and uncertainty – in our midst, and we walked with the people we were called to shepherd. We had a growing men’s group, a women’s Bible study, and any time we had a party of any kind, we’d pack the place. The one thing that wasn’t happening, though, was a growing weekly worship service. Over time it became evident that God was working in us, through us, and in spite of us, but just not in the context of a weekly worship service. Long story short, we ended up closing our doors at the end of January. Just like in losing someone close, shutting down a church plant does involve grief. It was the end of a dream. In a bizarre twist of events did I even land in this pastoral role at Confluence in the first place. It was clear that God wanted us here for a reason. But the question that kept coming to mind was, “Now what?” I resigned myself to working a secular career and ministering through that avenue.

After another Confluence family and my family found a place to call our new church home, a most surprising thing happened. The pastor of our new church called me, asking me, asking me if I would be open to the possibility of working in some capacity at Grace Community Church. So, a month and a half later, I am on their volunteer staff as an associate pastor. Did I foresee this when we first moved to Champaign? Not at all! God had that figured out before we stepped foot here. I’m blown away…

Another major life change that we’ve undertaken is the addition of another baby boy to our family in November. We’re still adjusting to life as a family of four, but the challenges are so, so worth it! Being a dad to both Zander and Alastair is incredibly rewarding and adventurous. Seeing our two-year old absorb everything he hears us say and watches us do is mind-blowing. His vocabulary is exploding on a near-daily basis. We have a growing set of inside jokes between us that brightens the day at any moment. Alastair, our 3-month old, does everything with gusto – he cries and screams with gusto, and he smiles and laughs with the same level of intensity. I am learning so much about daddyhood, life, and myself through this season. Humbling and overwhelming, to be sure.
Lastly, about two months ago I had an eye-opening experience about my health. One Sunday after church I noticed that I was lethargic, sickly and feeling like complete crap. My wife, being a type-1 diabetic, suggested that I check my blood sugar. Come to find out, my level was well beyond a normal person’s range. Then I began thinking about my weight. At my lightest as an adult (In my late 20s), I weighed 169. I felt great! I had just lost 30 pounds and I could have lost 10 more. But this time around I topped the scale at 259 – that’s 100 pounds that I needed to lose!  I knew that a “diet” wouldn’t work for me. I knew that I needed to make some wholesale changes to my lifestyle. So, since that day nearly 2 months ago I’ve cut out most carbs and all soda. Instead of 3 totally-out-of-control meals, I eat 5 or 6 small, calorie-controlled meals a day. I aim to drink 128 oz of water per day to flush the system and to stay hydrated. On top of that, I’m committed to increasing my movement throughout the day. So far I’ve lost 10 pounds. 90 to go. The scale isn’t the main thing I want to satisfy. My goal is to become healthy. I’m committed to being “All in” for my wife and kids. How can I if I am morbidly obese? Stroke runs rampant through my family. I don’t think it wise to play Russian roulette with my health.
So, lots of changes. God is good and He is in control. I’m trusting Him for all these things. Holding on tight for the wild ride ahead!
Ridiculously Joyful-

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